TECHNOLOGY

Best Buy jumps into the holiday delivery wars

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Best Buy has made a move to grab wallet share from competitors like Amazon, Walmart and Target, this holiday season.

Best Buy on Thursday announced it will provide free shipping on all online orders, with no minimum purchase required, from Nov. 8 to Dec. 25, as long as merchandise is available. It is the fourth straight year Best Buy has made the offer.

The service complements the company’s same-day delivery option. The service, which is available in 40 markets in the United States, has a $5.99 order fee. Customers can also pickup online orders in-store.

“Best Buy connecting its free shipping promotion to its omnichannel strategy is a great move,” said Charles Dimov, VP, marketing, OrderDynamics.

“First, it takes away the purchasing barrier of the dreaded minimum order required. Then, it reminds shoppers, ‘if you want it even faster, more conveniently, and the opportunity to see, touch and feel the product first, come into the store for a pickup,’” Dimov explained. “The in-store pickup saves Best Buy the cost of shipping and also reduces returns. Given that only 27.5% of retailers in the U.S. today offer the BOPIS option to customers, this is a nice differentiator for Best Buy.”

The announcement comes on the heels of competitors making similar delivery deals for the holidays. For the first time, Amazon is offering free shipping on all holiday orders with no minimum order required. (There is typically a $25 minimum for non-Prime members.)

Target will offer free two-day shipping to all customers, with no minimum purchase and no membership requirement. The offer runs from Nov. 1 until Dec. 22.

Walmart recently announced that “millions of items” sold on its marketplace are eligible for free two-day shipping on orders over $35. The service, which does not require a membership, will launch in mid-November. This is in addition to the to more than two million items sold online that are also eligible for free shipping when orders surpass $35. No membership fee applies.

Best Buy’s free shipping coincides with the company’s Black Friday deals on TVs, laptops, smart home devices, video games, and appliances, among other merchandise. The electronics retailer is launching “thousands” of early Black Friday deals on Nov. 8 through Nov. 11, and all are available online and in-store.

My Best Buy members will also be invited to Early Access sales events. Elite Plus and Elite members can shop on Sunday, Nov. 18, and all My Best Buy members can shop on Monday, Nov. 19, and Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Best Buy will re-launch all Black Friday deals to all customers on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22.

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon continues its price war with online competitors

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon may still be the online price leader, however it is losing its lead in certain categories.

This was according to “Price Wars: A Study of Online Competitiveness,” a study from Profitero that revealed Amazon is averaging 13% less expensive than other major online retailers in the United States.

Overall, Amazon had the lowest prices on the broadest selection of popular items, winning 11 out of 15 categories studied. Walmart had the most competitive prices to Amazon’s, with prices averaging 2.3% higher. Jet had prices 4.2% higher than Amazon, while Target averaged 11.9% higher.

However, there were a few exceptions where Amazon wasn’t the lowest priced in market. For instance, Chewy.com was 2.3% cheaper in pet supplies and Jet.com had lower prices than Amazon in beauty (.4%) and music & CDs (2.6%).

While Walmart had the most competitive prices to Amazon’s among any other retailer, the discount giant is making the largest strides to keep up with Amazon in the home furniture and baby categories. In fact, these prices are -0.7% and -0.3% lower, respectively.

In February 2018, Walmart, along with Jet and Target were locked in a fierce price competition with Amazon within online grocery. Since then, Jet.com has separated from the pack, lowering grocery prices by 5%.

Amazon’s price advantage was most notable compared to specialty stores. On average, Amazon was 13.3% cheaper on appliances and 15.2% cheaper on electronics versus Best Buy; 18.4% cheaper on sporting goods versus Dick’s Sporting Goods; and 24.9% cheaper on furniture compared to Wayfair. This dramatic price gap could have a major impact on these retailers’ holiday shopping sales if trends continue into November and December.

“Based on our latest data, it’s clear that Amazon is the best-priced retailer across the broadest selection of products,” Keith Anderson, Profitero’s senior VP of product strategy and insights. “That said, for those willing to spend the time, deals can still be found in price-competitive categories like baby, pet, and beauty products.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Ahold Delhaize USA jumps into the robotic picking game

BY CSA Staff

Supermarket giant Ahold Delhaize has found a way to get online orders to its North American customers more efficiently.

Ahold Delhaize USA will roll out small, automated “robot supermarkets” to speed order picking and cut delivery times, according to Reuters.

Ahold Delhaize USA, which operates Stop & Shop, Food Lion, Giant, Hannaford, Giant/Martin’s and Peapod, as well as Retail Business Services (RBS), will automate order collection through mini automated warehouses attached to the stores of its U.S. chains, the report explained.

The new strategy marks a departure from traditionally relying on manual labor at bigger warehouses, as well as a mixture of man and machine, to meet online food orders, Reuters said.

The company is working with start-up Takeoff Technologies, which is also working with Albertsons Cos. on a similar project.

To read more, click here.

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